UK Will Continue With Trade Penalties Even After Brexit

Chinese ceramic goods, steel products and car tyres will be penalized under trade remedy measures post Brexit, said the government. Imports judged to have been unfairly traded are taxed and tariffs are imposed on them by EU. UK government announced that 43 trading remedies will continue to be maintained if a no-deal Brexit occurs or post transition period. Chinese products are penalized particularly for being dumped at low prices on international markets.

Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary, said that 66 measures designed for protecting EU producers will cease to apply post Brexit, including tariffs on Chinese mandarins, Thai sweetcorn and Chinese solar glass used for making solar panels. Mr. Fox also stated that tariffs will be reviewed to see whether or not they require changes. British Ceramic Confederation CEO Laura Cohen pointed out that the government has still not said anything about the most favored, underlying nation tariffs onto which additions of trade remedies are made. She said that if these are dropped to zero by the government in case of a no-deal Brexit, domestic markets will be badly affected by flood of imports.

Steel makers’ representative body welcomed the trade remedies but also warned about inability of UK to manage trade issues. Gareth Stace, UK Steel Director General, said that complexity and volume of transitioned measure reviews, implementation of new steel safeguards of UK and new investigations into subsidies and dumping can be too much even for a highly experienced authority. He warned that UK steel producers will be exposed to unfair trade practices.

Mr. Fox had said in 2017 that UK would replicate 40 EU-free trade deals by March 29. So far, the department has finalized continuity agreements with only 7 out of 69 regions and nations which have trade deals with EU, including Palestinian Authority, Israel, Southern and Eastern Africa, Faroe Islands, Chile and Switzerland. Trade deals with Turkey and Japan will not be replicated before Brexit day, said trade department. If UK departs EU without a deal, it will have to depend on WTO rules by default. Average EU tariffs are low, around 2.8% for non-agricultural goods, but can be higher for some sectors. UK could either waive or lower tariffs for stimulating free trade, meaning cheaper imports and risk of UK producers losing business.

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